The city of Montreal voted 37-23 on Tuesday to amend its animal control bylaw to ban pit bulls and restrict dangerous dogs.

The decision means the majority of Montrealers will be allowed to keep their existing pit bulls as long as they register the animals by the end of the year.

The new rules include the following: 

  • Owners of dogs and cats must register their animals.
  • The cost of an animal tag will be the same in all boroughs
  • All dogs must be sterilized and microchipped by Dec. 31, 2019
  • Any dog that kills another animal or person will be euthanized
  • Dogs that weigh more than 20 kg must be on a harness or halter
  • The maximum leash length is 1.85m
  • The minimum fine for breaking the bylaw is $300, with fines for repeat offenders going up to $4,000

The cost for animal registration is being set city-wide. 

  • $25 for sterilized dogs
  • $10 for sterilized cats
  • $60 for non-sterilized dogs
  • $30 for non-sterilized cats
  • $150 for pit bulls and dangerous dogs
  • $10 for a sign warning of dangerous dogs
  • $50 for those who want to have three dogs
  • $100 for dog walkers

There are also special rules for the owners of pit bulls and dangerous dogs.

Pit bulls, which are just 4.6 per cent of registered dogs in Montreal, are responsible for 37.8 per cent of the 137 serious dog-related injuries and deaths since Jan. 1, 2015.

Pit bulls are defined as the American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, and the Staffordshire terrier, dogs that are crossbreeds of the aforementioned animals, or any dog that physically resembles those breeds.

Dangerous dogs are those that have bitten another animal or person.

As of October 3, 2016, no new pit bulls will be permitted within city limits. Existing dogs must be registered by Dec. 31, 2016, or else the animals will be seized.

Pit bull owners will:

  • Have to prove their dogs are sterilized, microchipped and vaccinated against rabies
  • Have to prove they were living in Montreal before Oct. 3
  • Be prohibited from having a violent criminal record
  • Give the city 48 hours' notice before moving

All pit bulls and dangerous dogs will have to:

  • Wear a muzzle whenever outside
  • Be kept on a 1.25m leash, unless in a dog park or an area surrounded by a 2m high fence
  • Be supervised by an adult
  • Be wearing the city-supplied dog tag

The pit bull permit can be revoked and the dog seized and euthanized if the owner violates any of the pit-bull-specific rules. 

Mayor Denis Coderre said the new rules were a reasonable measure to take in providing for the safety of all citizens while allowing pet owners to keep their animals.

He also had harsh words for those who argued that the majority of animal owners were responsible.

"Hundreds of cats and dogs are abandoned every summer on moving day. That's hardly what I call responsible behaviour. By the same token, many dog owners refuse to walk their dogs on a leash. That is not responsible," said Coderre.

The city estimates that up to 80 per cent of dogs in the city are not registered.

Since July, when the city hired more animal control officers, the city has handed out 900 fines to dog owners.

The number of registered animals increased by more than 50 per cent, going from 20,000 animals to 31,000.